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by Cliff York


These words taken from the 15th Psalm remind us that the Psalmist often reflected upon the spiritual character of those "Blessed of the Father who will inherit the Kingdom prepared from the foundation of the World." Surely we all desire to be on the right side of Christ when we stand before Him at the Great Assize shortly. All who read this will then have a great interest in pondering the following question that was presented by our Lord Himself toward the end of His ministry:-

"Who then is a Faithful and Wise Servant?"

In Matthew 24:45 & Luke 12:42, Christ posed this question to all who have heard Him, right down through the passage of time. And in the context, He exhorts all who anticipate His return to the earth to "be ye therefore ready... for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not," cp Matt 24:44. Or as the first part of that verse has been better translated, "be ye also getting ready," ('ie. it is in the continuous present tense in the Greek.') Of course, this describes a 'process of preparation' which involves a lifetime of dedication. Much the same as when Christ said "be ye also perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect," cp Matt 5:48. In these words, Christ is describing the process of striving toward perfection, rather than the final evidence of complete perfection in any one saint's life, as we prepare for eternity on the other side of this present vale of tears. And in truth, no-one will be able to claim in all honesty, at the coming of the Lord, that they were as ready as they would have wished to have been for that climactic event. Indeed, there is evidence that this lack of complete "readiness" includes all who have ever been called to a life of probation. (It matters not, whether they have already passed into the article of death, having "died in the Lord" prior to Christ's advent, or whether they are of that blessed number who are "alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord,") cp Rev 14:13; 1 Thess 4:15.

The Lord clearly reveals that absolute readiness is not achievable by any one of us whilst clothed with mortality. We learn this Truth in the words of the parable which follows the context of our opening quotation. In Matt 25:5 we read that "while the Bridegroom tarried, these all ('ie. all ten virgins - an aggregate number representing all who have been called') slumbered and slept." (This is also supported by Christ in Luke 17:10 - for even if we could claim to have done everything that the Father commanded of us, in the end, Christ concludes, "we are all unprofitable servants, because we have simply performed what was our duty to do" as servants of the Most High God - then we lay down and die! There is no profit in that! And unlike Christ, our own life cannot redeem our mortal bodies from the grave). As Paul taught us in Eph 2:2-10, it is now only "by Grace (that we) are... saved through Faith; and that not of ourselves: it is the (gracious) gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." There is nothing that we "can do" as such, to place God in our debt. Our Heavenly Father will never "owe us" Salvation, for we can never "earn," or "buy," our Salvation through our own works. Eternal life is a wonderful "free" gift which we will "inherit" by the Grace of our Heavenly Father, despite our many failings!

So what is an inheritance? Who can bestow an inheritance? Who receives an inheritance? Usually an inheritance only comes our way because of our relationship to the testator. For example:- let us reflect upon an ordinary family inheritance. Under normal circumstances one does not have to do much more than live worthy of the family values and the family name to receive (an appropriate portion of) the family inheritance despite never having been the perfect offspring. Of course, dis-inheritance does sometimes occur. And such action is ordinarily only ever taken because, over a period of time, a certain member of the family has in some way, [usually without remorse] continually violated and darkened the Family name and refused to demonstrate the Families' values in some very important way.

Remember when that certain "Lawyer" ('ie. expert in the Law') entreated Christ? "Good Master, what good thing must I do to inherit eternal life?" cp Matt 19:16; Luke 10:25. Jesus' answer was crisp, and unambiguous. In effect He said to that clever lawyer, "there is nothing that you can do to inherit eternal life." As if to say (A.I.T.S.):-"Your eternal future depends, not so much on your "DOING" anything, as on your "BEING" someone - ie. a true Son of The Father - the Testator." In other words, "If you want eternal life, then you will do the will of your Father which is in Heaven. That is, your whole way of life, and your attitude to your neighbour, and your Brethren, will be a reflection of your Father's attitude to all His Creation. And as you exhibit that attitude in measure according to your several abilities, you will demonstrate that you are truly "a Son of your Father in Heaven," cp Matt 5:43-48. We read that the Lawyer correctly answered Christ, when he recited the great 'Law of Love' which is itself a conundrum of terminology. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind' and 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.'

But here is a problem! Jesus praised the Lawyer and said, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live." How can you "do love"? How can Christ "command any of us to love"? The two concepts, 'commanding' and 'love' are really incongruent. They head in different directions. A commandment requires action whether we are willing or not. To love is a decision we make of our own free will.

We might think that we have done a lot of things for God. We might even have made the ultimate sacrifice, dying "for the Truth's sake." But, Paul tells us plainly, that if we do not choose to demonstrate the Love of our Heavenly Father in our lives towards our neighbour, as He has demonstrated it toward ourselves, then we are nothing! We are not even a "little bit of something!! Neither are we even a "little" someone, even if we make the ultimate sacrifice by giving our life!! Without a practical demonstration of the Father's Character of Merciful Graciousness in our lives, we are nothing! We will not be in the Kingdom that the Father has prepared from the foundation of the world, if we neglect to work on this issue of "Divine Relationships" involving the practical demonstration of our Father's Divine character towards others! cp 1Cor 13; Isa 42:8. The Father has spoken clearly. He can never give "His Glory to another." He can only Glorify Himself in those who desire to be just like Him in character! The Father refers to those He will glorify, as His Sons and Daughters.

So we conclude from the evidence of Scripture, that our eternal destiny is determined principally through the relationship that we build with our Heavenly Father and all of His offspring. Jesus reveals that we will demonstrate this precious relationship practically by our attitude towards our neighbour. As John reveals in his Epistle, "If someone says, 'I love God' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for if he hates his brother whom he has seen; how can he claim to love God, whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who claims to love God must love his brother also," cp 1 John 4:20-21. And again, "whoever does not practise righteousness is not of God, nor is he [of God] who does not love his brother. Therefore we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother... And why did Cain murder him? Because his own works were evil and his brother's works were righteous..." So John leads us to the conclusion that "Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer, and we know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." What are we being told here? It is, that our attitudes in life will determine our destiny. We are certain that they will. Call to mind the words of Jesus who revealed the principle, that "if we are angry with our Brother" we have as good as committed the murder of our brother "in our heart," with devastating eternal ramifications for ourselves, cp Matt 5:21-28.

To summarise this important principle again:- our individual eternal destiny will be determined as much by our relationship to the Father, to His Son, and to our Brothers and Sisters who also share the same common paternity/maternity, as it will be determined by our attitude toward the issues of "works" and "grace," cp Matt 25:34-46.

(Incidentally, the word "Brethren," used so often in the Greek New Testament Scriptures is 'Adelphos,' meaning 'from the same womb,' cp Psa 87; Gal 4:26; 1 Peter 1:22-23.) From this, and from other evidence we will yet bring forth, we conclude that all our Brethren and Sisters in the Lord, can trace their spiritual Paternity back to their loving Heavenly Father, and their spiritual Maternity to "Jerusalem (The Hope Of Israel) which is (also from) above," cp Rev 21:2.

Perfection? or Progress?

Up to this point, we have seen that our Father in Heaven expects progress rather than perfection from His adopted Sons and Daughters during their probation. And He has clearly revealed that our attitudes toward our Spiritual Brothers and Sisters will greatly effect our eternal destiny. Having set the scene briefly, we now want to go back to have a look at the "faithful and wise servant" of Matt 24. We must make an honest effort to determine what attitude of mind we are required to manifest, if we wish to be included in that blessed class, revealed in Matt 24:46; 25:21,23,34. And just as importantly, we plan to also look at the attitude of the "evil servant." We believe that the Spirit's description of this sad specimen of humanity has been graciously provided for us as a sobering example of a disposition of mind that we are to avoid at all costs, as we labour together in the Lord's Household.

Let Christ describe His "faithful and wise servants" for us. He informs us that they are those who give "meat ('ie. sustenance') in due season" to His "household." The word "household" [Greek "therapeia"], is the basis of our English word 'therapy' or 'healing.' The Greek word "therapeia" only occurs four times in the entire New Testament record. Significantly, we find that the last time it is used, is in Rev 22:2 to describe the work of the saints as they go forth to "heal the nations" in the Millennium. Whatever Christ had in mind here in Matt 24:45 & Luke 12:42 when he referred to 'a house of healing,' it is certain that today we refer to our 'houses of healing or houses of therapy' as "hospitals". In fact, this may well have been what Christ had in mind, for "hospitals are known to have existed in the Middle the 1st Millennium before Christ, and among the ancient Romans as early as 100 BC" (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1992)

For example, look at Christ's parabolic answer in response to the Lawyer's question in Luke 10:34, when the lawyer asked "Who then is my neighbour?" The "inn" mentioned in this parable became a "house of healing" or 'hospital' in type, for the "certain man" beaten, robbed and left to die by 'King Sin's Thugs.' How grateful that "certain man" ('ie. representing any one of us') would have been for the merciful compassion shown to him by a Samaritan, of all people! The Samaritan, as far as we know, was not a "man of God." On the other hand, the Priest and the Levite, both of whom had already made the decision to pass this "certain man" by, had both been chosen by God to "have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way," cp Heb 5:2. Both men had been called by God to be "faithful and wise servants within the Father's national 'House of Healing'."

It is obvious as one considers the history of the nation of Israel, that the nation had been chosen by the Father to be a gigantic national "house of healing" or "hospital," as it were. Through the nation of Israel, God wanted to witness to His grand purpose of healing all the nations, not just the natural offspring of Abraham, cp Isa 43:8-11; Zech 8:23. Under the Law of Moses, the Priests were appointed to be the 'Doctors' of the nation who bound up the broken hearted, who cared for the bruised, who clothed the naked, who housed those who had been cast out, who defended the Fatherless and the Widows, and who cared for all those less fortunate than themselves, cp Lev 12-15; Isa 58; James 1:27. And the Levites were to deal out the Bread of God's word in faithful moral instruction, cp Deut 8:3; Isa 55:1-2; 58:6-7; Mal 2:4-7. But the Father did not intend that the responsibilities of these "men of God" be confined to the nation of Israel only! Israel had been positioned by the Father at the crossroads of earth's major continents, in the "navel, or belly button, of the earth" [as Ezekiel describes Israel's geographic position] that the nations too, might learn about the Father and embrace His Will, and be healed of all their diseases, cp Deut 4:5-8; Isa 43:10; 56:6-8.

Yet we find that the Lawyer who had asked Christ the question which prompted the Lord's parable of the Good Samaritan, (like the Priest and the Levite, - and, dare I say it? - like ourselves so often,) was not seeking to find where his obligations began, but he wanted to know instead, where they ended, cp Luke 10:25-29. How masterfully our Lord turned the enquiry back upon the Lawyer himself, forcing him to acknowledge that he too must imitate the Samaritan (though the Lawyer could not bring himself to vocalise that name.) And he had to acknowledge the need to "show merciful compassion" to any and all who have been beaten, robbed and left for dead by King Sin and His Merry Thugs, cp Luke 10:37; Exod 34:6; Psa 145:7-9; Mic 7:18.

What beautifully appropriate terminology Christ has introduced us to, when He describes all those who have been called by the Father to be His children, cp John 1:12. We are all diseased! Sick, nigh unto death! Everyone of us! No exceptions! Stricken with the leprosy of mortality! Slowly dying even while we live! All of us, heading inexorably to the grave! Robbed by Sin and left to die alongside of the road of life - that treacherous steep descent into the valley of death! Which is why Christ was sent into this World of Sin and Death. The Father looking down from Heaven, saw "that there was no (mighty) man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought (forth) Salvation," cp Isa 59:16.

So in due time, the "only Begotten Son of God" was introduced among men. Though miraculously conceived in the womb of a wonderful virgin maiden in Israel, this one was at the same time "the son of God's right hand, whom He had made strong for Himself," cp Psa 80:15-17. "And thou (Mary) shall call His name Jesus (Yah-Hoshea): for He shall save His people from their sins," cp Matt 1:21. (A.I.T.S.:- "Doctor, can you please save my children from death?") And what loving parent will not go to the greatest of measures to save any of their children from the awful fate of death? What a wonderful loving Father we have! He has referred all His children by His grace to the greatest Doctor that this world has ever known! cp 1 Tim 2:3-4; 5:9. Spiritually, we are all "lepers" in His sight (in a figure) - how then can any one of us claim to be a 'better leper than any other' as we hobble our way on "diseased feet," holding each other up, each helping the other to make his way to the Great High Priest (Doctor) who is "able to save to the uttermost all those that come to God by Him," cp Heb 7:25. As He declared on one occasion, "all who come to me, I will certainly not cast out."

And notice the work of this Doctor! It is to "save His people" from "their sins." Not just all those many sins that we have all committed before repentance and baptism, but also all those sins of omission and commission wherein we can "all fall short of the glory of God" at any time this side of immortality and perfection, cp Rom 3:23. In other words, His people are sick - every single one of them - very sick, blighted by sin, and requiring the greatest of intensive care and life support to "endure unto the end." By now we should be able to see that any spiritual "house of healing" or "hospital," has a monumental work load attached to it. And there is nothing like a massive work load to make the time just fly. Have you ever experienced that? You are involved in some worthwhile project and the whistle blows at the end of the day, calling you to finish work and go home. But you have been so engrossed in your work that you have forgotten lunch, and it really feels as though you have no sooner arrived at work than it is time to finish for the day. In fact you have been so busy in your labours that you haven't even noticed that the boss was not there all day. But you worked just as hard anyway. Harder in fact. Because the benefits he gives you in his company are just beyond compare, cp Rom 8:18.

So what does our Lord say that the "faithful and wise servant" is doing in his Master's absence? Just like the Priests and the Levites were supposed to do under the Law of Moses, he is distributing "meat (food) in due season" cp Matt 24:45. He is performing the work of a Priest and a Levite! A most important work in any good hospital! Healthy food to restore a frail, sick body back to full health. Truly a full time job in a "house of healing" this size. And Christ has His mind back in the Psalms for this servant's job description. In a Psalm which poetically describes the seven creation days, and the wonder and balance of life, the Psalmist declares that "man goes forth to his work and to his labour until the evening. O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all: the earth is full of your riches...These all wait upon you; that you may give them their meat in due season. What you give them they gather: you open your hand, they are filled with good," cp Psalm 104:24-30.

And again in Psalm 145:14-20, we read, "The Lord upholds all who fall, and He raises up all those that be bowed down (with sickness.) The eyes of all look expectantly to you; and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, (cp Exod 33:13 - 34:7) and merciful (marg. "bountiful, generous") in all His works. The Lord is near unto all them that call upon Him ('ie. just as when we as parents, keep an ear open all night when one of our children is ill')...He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them ('ie. help - save me! - from death!') The Lord preserves (from death) all those who love Him."

And when we examine "the will of the Father in Heaven" as revealed in the New Testament Scriptures, we learn that The Father's sovereign will is to heal His Children, and save them all from certain death, cp Matt 12:50; John 6:38-39; & Psa 116:2-9. However, His Children must recognise their need to be healed, they must desire to be healed, and they must go to the correct source to be healed.

By now we should be able to begin to see the following picture. Our Loving Heavenly Father is a Merciful God. He has a wonderful generous character, cp Matt 20:1-15; Eph 1:2; 2:7. He is not niggardly or mean with His blessings. He opens His hand, and the abundance of His goodness flows out to sustain all His creation, cp Matt 5:43-48; Acts 14:17. Imagine where any one of us would be if Our Heavenly Father was "tight fisted and mean," holding back on His blessings until we 'deserved them or earned them,' cp Psa 103:1-10; 130:3. Yes, even though we are weak, sickly creatures of the dust, imperfect and often immature, and figuratively "hospitalised in intensive care for most of our days," our Loving Heavenly Father still exercises His Longsuffering and Loving Kindness upon us. By looking at the context of all the scriptures just quoted, we can see that our Heavenly Father's desire is to "heal us of all our diseases." What a great and precious privilege we have, that we can demonstrate in our lives, the glory of the wonderful character of our Gracious God and Father in heaven, cp Psalm 103:3-14; 145:3-13. "Let anyone who wants to glory, glory in this, that he understands and knows Me (Yahweh), that I am the Lord who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, says the Lord," cp Jer 9:23-24.

There is a question we must now ask ourselves. How is the Lord's "faithful and wise servant" spending his time in the great "house of therapy?" Clearly, he performs the duty of both Priest and Levite? And in so doing, he manifests the glorious character of the Father in Heaven! He esteems all His Brethren "better than himself" (though in reality, in some cases, he may in fact, be 'better' than they), cp Phil 2:3-4. He is very busy inside the "house of healing." He is dressed figuratively in the white robes of a Priest, bathing the sick, feeding the weak, binding up the broken limbs, comforting the broken hearted, tending to the diseased, bearing up the burdens of his fellow inmates, relieving their anguish and sorrow. In a word, he is caring for his fellow Brethren. And one cannot do any of these tasks with a clenched fist. The "faithful servant of the Lord" has an open hand, stretching out to his fellow in merciful compassion to accomplish any of these tasks. And the help is constantly required and must be given, even when the inmates in the hospital do not 'deserve' it. What a task this true Doctor's assistant, or Hospital orderly has! He is helping to perform the work of his Loving Heavenly Father within that great "House of Healing."

To reinforce this idea further, consider the wonderful "virtuous woman." This woman is typical of the Lord's Bride Community, who "rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, giving a portion also to her maidservants," cp Prov 31:15. The Apostle Paul expounds this excellent spirit in his letter to the Brethren meeting in Rome. "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality," cp Rom 12:10-13.

It is no surprise then, that there is no record of the "faithful and wise servant of the Lord" even thinking such thoughts as - "my Lord delays His coming!" Neither can his attitude be described as asking in his heart, - "where is the promise of his coming?" Such an attitude belongs only to the "evil servant." See how this attitude was recorded by Peter and applied to the situation found in the Brotherhood in his day. The "good and faithful servant" is so busy doing the work that His master left for him to do that he has no time to think such idle thoughts. He is "occupying [Grk 'busy in trading'] until his Lord returns," cp Luke 19:13. For him, the Lord will return and find him as busy and as contented and as satisfied in His employ as any man could ever wish to be, cp Matt 19:30. What an excellent attitude!

No wonder the Lord, in this and subsequent parables, commends this wonderful servant. "You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things, ('ie. all things')" cp Matt 24:21-23; Luke 19:15-19. What a lofty thought! To be in partnership with the Father and His creation! A.I.T.S.:- "Because you have exercised proper dominion over yourself and your feelings and your attitudes, and have treated my creation in the way that I would have it treated, generously sharing the blessings that I have given you with others who needed them as much as you, I will now grant you true dominion over my (new) creation," cp Gen 1:26-28; Psalm 8; Heb 2:6-11; Rev 3:21.

And again, "come ye blessed of my Father ('ie. notice the family relationship once more') inherit the kingdom ('ie. remember, an inheritance is usually bequeathed upon us because of our relationship to the Testator') prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I ('Christ' - so often revealed in the person of those Brethren we regard as least and whom we despise the most, cp Matt 25:40,45 - ie. a.k.a. "the least of these my Brethren") was hungry and you fed me ('ie. with the bread of Heaven'); I was thirsty and you satisfied my thirst ('ie. with the wine of the covenant and the water of life'); I was a stranger and you took me in ('ie. when no else would have me'), naked and you clothed me ('ie. covering my shame - not noising it abroad', cp James 5:14-20; Gal 6:1-3); I was sick and you visited me ('ie. constantly in the "House of Healing"); I was in prison and you came to me ('ie. to release my heavy burdens and to free me from the penalty of my sin - even death itself!)"

And look at this marvellous servants attitude! He responds and proclaims, "Lord when did I see you hungry, and feed you? or thirsty and gave you a drink? or a stranger and took you in? or naked and clothed you? or sick or in prison and visited you? Note the surprise in this servants reply! He was simply not expecting such merciful recognition. This "faithful and wise servant" has been so busy sharing the blessings that his Lord has given to him by grace. He has shared those gracious blessings with all of his Master's creation, (and especially "with those who are of the household of faith," cp Gal 6:6-10), that he simply has not noticed the time passing. Neither has he kept a record of his actions to place his Lord in his debt. A.I.T.S.:- "Lord, I was doing nothing special, I was merely carrying out your instructions in your absence as you asked of all your servants - I was simply tending to your (new) creation and caring for it in the way that you intended from the very beginning," cp John 15:1-16; Gen 2:15; Isa 51:3; Rev 3:14. [These verses and many others beside, proclaim the Gospel of the New Creation in Christ Jesus].

And what is the reward in store for "the faithful and wise servant?" He is appointed "ruler" over Christ's "household," or over "ten cities or five cities" as Luke 19:15-19 reveals. It will be his joy to go forth with Christ when He returns soon, "as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His beams" to be a therapeutic influence among the nations, cp Mal 4:1-2; Isa 56:5-8. And this honour is his because all through his probation he has exercised dominion over himself only, and he has been generous to others. He has worked tirelessly, just like his Lord to heal his Brethren of all their diseases, cp Mark 9:38-50. He has an altogether different attitude to life compared to the mean, niggardly spirit of the "evil servant; a.k.a. unprofitable servant; a.k.a. worker of iniquity" of Matt 24:48. Like the "salt of the earth" that the "faithful and wise servant" is, his presence in "the Master's house of therapy" has been savoury, preservative, and healing. He has concentrated on his own discipline, and he has not concerned himself with lording it over the others in his Master's "household," cp Rev 1:13; 2:1. He has been their servant, not their despot, cp 1 Peter 5:1-4. As his Lord demonstrated before him, it is "the goodness of God that leadeth men to repentance" as a Shepherd leads his flock, cp Isa 40:10-11; Rom 2:4; John 10:1-16. So by faithfully following his Lord's example, the "faithful and wise servant" has established and maintained a wholesome 'fellowship in Christ' with all the 'inmates' in his Lord's "Hospital." In his ministration to all his fellows he has actually ruled in the hearts of his fellows, (though not as a despot), because whenever his fellow brethren saw them, they saw the Face of Christ walking toward them, with outstretched hands overflowing with the gracious gift of redemption, cp Luke 19:15 ("money" = 'silver'); Psa 68:18-20; Eph 4:1-13.

As the Spirit has revealed, "the faithful and wise servant" has learned early that "he who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God" cp 2 Sam 23:3. And again, as prospective Kings and Priests in training today for the coming age, he has also learned that "faithful and wise servants" must all learn how to "execute true judgement, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart," cp Zech 7:9-10; with Zech 6:13; Jer 22:3; & Rev 5:9-10.

In this parable, we are presented with a stark contrast in attitudes. We will take a closer look now at the "evil servant" in Matt 24:48-51 who is depicted as busily "smiting his fellow-servants." Like the "faithful and wise servant," this servant is supposed to be a hospital orderly! His vocation, or calling, is to be a Royal Priest of grace. He is the Doctor's assistant! In effect, every servant who finds himself "born" into the "house of healing" by the grace of God, has been bound by the spirit of the 'Hippocratic Oath,' which says in part, that:- "we pledge to prescribe only beneficial treatments, according to our abilities, and to refrain from causing harm or hurt, and to live an exemplary personal and professional life" cp Encyc. Brit. 1992.

Imagine how you would feel if you had admitted one of your children to a reputable "House of Healing," only to learn later that within the corridors of that 'hospital' is an "evil servant" who took great delight in smiting his fellow servants with inebriated pleasure. What concern you would have for the safety and care of your sick child in that environment! If the "evil servant" smites the Orderlies and Nurses (cp Luke 12:45 'ie. his fellow men servants and maid servants',) then what guarantee is there that he won't also take to smiting and harming the "patients" who are in the 'hospital' to be healed!

Is it possible to determine what the "evil servants" problem is? We do not have to guess at it, because the Lord has spelt it out clearly for us. For a start, the Lord describes him as "an evil (Grk. "intrinsically worthless, depraved, injurious") servant," cp Matt 24:48. In the Lord's next series of parables, the same man is described as "a wicked and slothful servant" and an "unprofitable servant" cp Matt 25:26,30. The Lord also describes him as being on "the left hand...cursed," and banished to Catholic Europe ('ie. everlasting fire' cp Matt 25:30,41,46; Rev 21:21), to be punished because of his identity in spiritual character with that evil, hateful system, as we shall see in a moment. His crime is obvious. Though it is not always so obvious at the time that it takes place! He has spent his time in the Master's "household" smiting and injuring Christ's "little ones." Of course, such actions are incongruent with vocation the of priest, to which we have all been called.

In some cases, the attitudes and actions of "the evil servant" have even caused Christ's "little ones" to sign themselves out of the 'Hospital/Ecclesia,' cp Matt 18:6-14. No wonder Jesus described such wicked and evil attitudes and/or actions, as "causing His little ones to stumble!" The picture He paints is graphic! Any one of Christ's "little ones whom we might despise," and who we cause to 'sign out' of the hospital before their Lord returns from Heaven, has sought a premature discharge from proper care. Their malady is not been cured. And with diseased leprous feet the "little one" stumbles off, perhaps "tripping over" in his tearful blindness, perhaps groping about with "palsied hands," to try and find comfort and help in some other place, cp Luke 16:20. And into the bargain, the "evil servant" has refused to perform the part of a Priest and/or Levite towards "these little ones" (a.k.a. "the least of Christ's Brethren,") thereby sealing his identity and destiny with the Harlot System of the Apocalypse, cp Matt 25:40-45; 2 Thess 2:3-12; Rev 17:5-7; 22:11.

The Psalmist, in many of his Psalms, describes the overwhelming feelings of depression experienced by Christ's "little ones" who are treated in this unjust and ungodly way. Many of the Psalms contain a vivid word picture of a lonely individual who is in the pit of despair, with the waters rising around him, threatening to drown him. That situation comes often as the result of the work of the "evil servant" in the "house of healing."

In a multitude of other places throughout the gospel records, Christ refers to this same class of "evil servants" by other names. He gave them appellations such as, "workers of iniquity; and they are also known as hypocrites; a.k.a. the wicked one; a.k.a. the enemy; a.k.a. the 'bad' fish," ('ie. caught up together with the good fish in the gospel net.) He is exactly the same "wicked servant" who, in Christ's parable, cruelly, and publicly, rattled the throat of "one of his fellowservants who owed him one hundred pence." And He did this when he himself had been forgiven a debt of ten thousand talents because his Lord had shown him "compassion, loosing him and forgiving him that (impossible) debt," cp Matt 18:23-35. Notice the Lord's warning at the conclusion of that parable. "So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also to you, if ye from your hearts do not forgive the trespasses of your Brethren," ('ie or Sisters, as the next chapter goes on to show',) cp Matt 18:35.

So how did this servant's problem attitude start? We notice, as the Lord tells us, "he shall say in his heart." Here we have some clues. He has developed an ungodly attitude! This servant is not rationally discussing his concerns with his Brethren. Neither does he confide his fears with his Heavenly Father through prayer - he keeps his fears hidden "in his heart." And the image of God which he keeps "in his heart" is not the image of God as presented in His Word and through His Son, cp Psalm 50:17-22.

Scripturally, our "heart" reveals the breeding ground for our attitudes in life. Our Lord Himself told us that "out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, murders, wickedness, an evil eye, ('ie. the dark disapproving glare, delivered through narrow squinting eyes') pride, foolishness," cp Mk 7:21-22. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he," cp Mt 12:34. And of course, who could miss the echo from the Psalms? "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God" cp Psalm14:1; 53:1. Or as Psalm 10:4 reveals, "the wicked, through the pride of his countenance" ('ie. "he loves to have the pre-eminence among his brethren", cp 3 John v9) "will not seek after God, God is not in all his thoughts," ('ie. mg. "all his thoughts are, 'There is no God', meaning (perhaps)- 'I will never face punishment'). Or as the NIV puts this verse:- "In all his thoughts, there is no room for God." What a fool! He is so full of himself!! Here is idolatry in its worst native form, just as the Apostle John spoke of in 1 John 5:21.

Now - the burning question is - "Who is this fool who speaks thus in his heart?" Whilst we can be certain that there are fools aplenty with agnostic and atheistic attitudes who will not acknowledge the very existence of the Almighty, we can be sure that the Psalmist was originally commenting upon the "fool" who exists within the Ecclesia of God, but who refuses to allow Almighty God to direct his life through grace. The prophet adds to our understanding of this "fool," when he reveals that "The Lord will search Jerusalem ('ie. symbolic of the Ecclesia') with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees ('ie. speaking of their inactivity'): that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil," cp Zeph 1:12. In other words, the "fool" behaves as though he believes that God is either inactive or dis-interested. (Contrast the activity of God manifested through His people in Jer 9:23-24; 1 Peter 2:9.) And worse than that, Christ reveals that the "fool" says "in his heart" - " my Lord delays His coming," cp Matt 24:48.

These words betray an attitude reflecting a chronic form of fear. And it appears that the Lord is taking His thoughts from the life of another "evil servant" who was on the scene 1000 years before Christ was born. King Saul exhibited his true character (attitude) when he was commanded specifically by Samuel to wait seven days "till I come to you, and show you what you shall do," cp 1 Sam 10:8. When Samuel did not arrive by the time Saul had expected him, Saul took matters into his own hands, and offered the sacrifices in Samuel's stead. Take a look at Saul's reasoning in 1 Samuel 13:11, and doubtless you will recognise the attitude of the "evil servant" in Matthew 24. Let us pause now, and consider:-

Saul, An Evil Servant Motivated By Fear

"And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me" - ('A.I.T.S:- the Ecclesia is going down hill'), "and that you ('ie. Samuel' - "Asked of God" - type of Christ) did not arrive at the time appointed " - ('A.I.T.S.:- my Lord delays His coming)', "and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash," ('A.I.T.S:- the world was placing pressure on the ecclesia'.) Is it co-incidence that all this took place at the end of the cycle of time when Samuel had announced that he would return? In the next verse, 1 Sam 13:12, it certainly reads as though Saul panicked as time passed by. Ultimately driven by his fear, and the fear of what others would say, he could no longer restrain himself, with the result that he exceeded his Divine charter. Saul's greatest problem was his constant need for public approbation. Another great problem that he had, was his propensity for "casting God's Word behind his back." It also reads as though, in Saul's mind, God was inert, uninterested, and unable to remedy the situation. A.I.T.S.:- "If I do not do something, God's purpose will surely fail - The Truth is eroding away - It appears that God has lost control - God needs my help," cp Psalm 14:1.

However, simply because the multitude were moving in a certain direction, was not a good reason for Saul to do more than obey God's Word in faith. The law taught very plainly, "you shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" cp Exod 23:2. Just because "the multitude" had made a decision, it did not automatically make that decision correct! [We shall see this principle again when we look at Matt 7:21-22]. If a majority decision within any society cuts right across Divine Commandments, then a conscious decision will be taken by the faithful to stand for Christ, regardless of the consequences for oneself. (For example, just reflect upon our communities' conscientious objection stand when we are faced with the test of compulsory military service, jury service, or voting in political elections.')

Look at Samuel's reply to Saul in 1 Sam 13:13-14. "You have done foolishly, you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which he commanded you," cp John 13:34. "But now your kingdom shall not continue" ('A.I.T.S:-. Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, the kingdom is not for you')! And Samuel continued, "The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart," cp Psalm 37:31; 119:2,11,69; ('ie. a faithful and wise servant - the Beloved'), "The Lord has commanded him to be captain over His people," (A.I.T.S:-'well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of your Lord,') cp Luke 19:17.

And there are many other points of similarity between "the evil servant" of Christ's parables and Saul, the failed King of Israel. For a start, Saul became completely besotted, and eaten out with a personal vendetta against David, the Beloved, cp 1 Sam 18:9-16; 19:9. Though David was not an evil man, Saul constantly sought to murder him at every opportunity. "And Saul eyed David from that day on," ('ie. Saul continually gave David "the evil eye," - the dark look of murderous intent)', cp Matt 20:15; Matt 6:22-23. He made life miserable for David because of his insane jealousy against the Lord's anointed. "And Saul cast the javelin; saying I will smite David (the Beloved) to the wall with it," ('A.I.T.S:-. I must suppress his influence by any means possible.') Saul, by his mean, niggardly attitude drove people away from him. But David, being the true shepherd King in training that he was, gathered into his company a vast number of "Brethren" (Jew and Gentile) who were oppressed by Saul's self seeking, and self serving reign, cp 1 Sam 8:10-18; 22:1-4; 23:13. A more ragged 'unhealthy' group of men you have never seen - yet David turned that band of malcontents into a mighty fighting force for his God. The magnanimous example and the gracious attitude of "the Beloved" were powerful in healing the problems of these poor men.

Unlike Saul, David allowed the Word of his God to be his supreme guide in life. His regard for His God was beautifully reflected in his ability to see beyond the Law of Moses to the very Spirit of Christ in all that the Law said. For example, read Deut 15:2-8 and note the examples of "open and closed hand" in that chapter. Not so Saul! He just could not understand the character of God as revealed through the precepts of the Law. So finally Saul's condemnation came in the following fateful words. "Has the Lord as great delight in... sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? ('ie. Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you'.) Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken is better than the fat of rams, ('ie. Christ's true relatives are those who gratefully perform the will of their Father in Heaven.') For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry, cp 1 John 5:21. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you from being King," cp 1 Sam 15:22-26; 28:18. Surely, Saul was a classic "worker of iniquity," and the tragedy of his life has been recorded for our benefit.

So how was David able to succeed where Saul had failed? David was a true commander, and, like Christ, he led by personal example, not by decree, cp 1 Sam 18:16. David realised that it is impossible to legislate righteousness! All that any of us can do is demonstrate righteousness by being obediently grateful toward our Heavenly Father and toward His children. Though David had his failings, his strength of spiritual character was continually displayed in his ability to be tough on himself, yet remain magnanimous towards others, cp Matt 5:29-30 ['ie. "if your own eye, hand, foot offends you etc"- notice that it does not say, if your Brothers' eye, hand, foot offends you, cut it off!!] David tried always to have an open handed, open hearted policy. And he also did his best to execute true justice and righteous judgement balanced with merciful kindness and gracious compassion, cp 2Sam 9. Hence the Scriptural expressions, "the sure mercies of David" and "Son of David, have mercy upon me," cp Isa 55:3-4; Luke 18:37-39.

Smiting With The Fist Of Wickedness

Let us now look at the phrase "to smite ('ie. to deliver a blow with a clenched fist or a weapon') his fellowservants." This "wicked servant" is exposed by Christ as demanding more from his brethren than what his Master has commanded him, or expected of them. Apart from any of the scriptures we have already examined, Christ could well have been quoting from Isaiah 58. In a chapter exposing hypocrisy in worship, the prophet reveals that "in the day of your fast you...exact all your labours ('ie. extort from others more than they are required to give', cp Amp. Bible.) "Behold ye fast for strife and debate" ('ie. your whole purpose for coming to the meetings is to beat others around the head with your technical arguments',) "and to smite with the fist of wickedness," cp v3-4. And as has been considered already, it is impossible to perform the work of the true Sabbath principles in Isa 58:6-7, with clenched fists. And when the "evil servant" does unclench his fist a little, it is to "point the finger." Of course when this happens the fist basically remains clenched - but three fingers point back towards the accuser, cp Isa 58:9.

But "the Lord's hand is not shortened ('ie by clenching His fist',) that it cannot save ('ie. from sickness and death',) cp Isa 59:1. The Father does not chase His children out of His House of Healing, smiting them with a sledge hammer fist. Now can we see the difference in attitude between "the faithful and wise servants" and "the evil servants?" The first have an attitude that reflects their Heavenly Father. They have an open hand and an open heart towards all of their (master's) brethren. The second, like Saul, do not obey the commandments of Christ, and they have an attitude problem towards those whom "they despise." They therefore seek to exercise inappropriate control methods over Christ's "little ones." And there are some favourite psychological methods used to maintain this control and manipulate Brethren to do what is "required." Perhaps you will recognise some of these "psychological methods." The "evil servant" employs emotional blackmail, public humiliation, ostracising the family (including the children), guilt trips, brute force, and veiled, (and not so veiled), threats of dis-fellowship. And there is the "Claytons Dis-Fellowship" where an individual is suffered to remain within the meeting, but he/she is never allowed to perform any public duties.

And the "evil servant" justifies his attitude, because "the Lord's delay," in his mind, equates to countless possibilities for apostasy, apathy, and indifference to the things of God. A.I.T.S:- "Because time is moving on, and Christ has not yet come, it seems that God needs my help to keep His truth pure, otherwise surely it will go down the drain and become apostate again, as it has in times past." Little does the "evil servant" realise that it is actually his attitude that is closer to being apostate than the "problems" of his brethren who he tries so desperately to control. When the "evil servant" said "in his heart, my lord delayeth His coming," he revealed his identity with a mode of thinking that belonged to the Judaistic Pharisees, cp Luke 7:39; 18:4,11.

But the evil servant is very wrong on at least two counts. For a start, Christ is not his Lord! Christ said, "why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not perform the things which I say," cp Luke 6:46. And again, "You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you." And the techniques employed by the "evil servant" against his brethren are not found anywhere in Christ's list of instructions teaching us how we should conduct the business of His House of Healing. Christ gave us His "House of Healing Mission Statement" in these words:- "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another" ('ie. if you love the unlovable',) cp John 15:14; 13:35; Rom 5:6-10. Or as Mark recorded it, "go into all the world and preach the Gospel [the Good News of the grace of God] to everyone; He who believes [with grateful obedience] and is baptised [signalling a conscious acceptance of the Family Values and Birth into the Family of God, ie. 'an irreversible act'] shall be saved [from the deadly disease of mortality]".

And the second reason the wicked servant is so wrong, is that the Lord has not delayed his return. Though time feels as though it is dragging on, "there is a set time to favour Zion" cp Psa 102:13. And there is "a day appointed in which Christ will judge the world" cp Acts 18:31. But, as yet, "no man knows the day or the hour" when Christ shall return, cp Mark 13:32. But this we do know, Christ is hardly "delaying" His return! What Bridegroom, separated by distance from his Bride, (whom he loves very deeply), would keep putting off the day when he can enjoy her company intimately once again? Christ is as anxious to return, as His Bride is anxious to have Him return, cp Song 2:8-13.

Eating And Drinking With The Drunken

Perhaps the most puzzling phrase in this little parable is the revelation that "the evil eating and drinking with the drunken," cp Matt 24:49; Luke 12:45. Many fancy explanations have been put forward over the years. Some allege that these words describe those Brethren who trouble the Ecclesia with "worldly attitudes and influences," (whatever those words might mean.) What really is "worldliness?" Consider that the Word reveals that all that is "in the world" is in our hearts, not "out there," cp Rom 7:13-25; 1 John 2:16-17. (But that is another subject!) Once again, we are not left to guess the answer to this question of "eating and drinking." The Word provides us with a beautifully clear solution.

Every week, as we regularly meet to remember our absent Lord, we "eat and drink" and share a magnificent banquet of grace with the only One of our race who has had a proper, sound and sober mind, cp 2 Tim 1:7. So "eating and drinking" is Bible terminology for identification, cp 1 Cor 11:26; John 6:53-56. "Truly, I say unto you, except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man" ('ie. the One who had dominion over Himself,' cp Psa 8:4,) "and drink His blood, ('ie. the One who sacrificed Himself',) you have no life in you." And Paul warns us, that if we imbibe the emblems of Christ's body and blood into our bodies, then refuse to act, and react in sacrificial love, towards our Brethren as Christ would have us act, we have "eaten and drunken condemnation to ourselves" ('ie. we seal our destiny on the left hand of Christ.')

In other words, if we willingly identify with, and thereby give assent to the correctness of Christ's way of doing things, and then refuse to allow the principles of Christ's Gracious Priest Life to outwork in our own lives, Paul reveals that we are "eating and drinking unworthily", cp 1 Cor 11:28-31. We all acknowledge that we become what we "eat and drink." We have all heard the saying, that "what we eat and drink today, walks and talks tomorrow." The "evil servant's" sustenance, - indeed his whole reason for living, - is bound up in what it is that he "eats and drinks," cp Prov 4:17. But he is hardly "hungering and thirsting after righteousness," though he may deceive himself "in his heart" that that is what he is actually doing when he employs his clever "blackmail" tactics to "maintain the purity of the Truth." His "meat and drink" ('ie. his sustenance, - that which keeps him going in the Truth') is altogether different to the meat and drink of "the faithful and wise servant." They are two totally different diets!

It should be possible now, to identify "the drunken" that the "evil servant" identifies himself with by his actions and attitudes. Again, we will let the Scriptures supply us with the definition. In a figure familiar to the prophets, and also to the reader of the Apocalypse, "the drunken" obviously refers directly to the wicked system of Babylon the Great, the Apostate Mother of Harlots, cp Jer 51:7; Rev 14:8; 17:2-6. So what does the word "drunken" relate to in this Scripture in Matt 24? Is the "evil servant" drunken with power over others? Is he drunken, in the sense that one who is inebriated does not think clearly? And in this drunken and inebriated state, has he by his actions, or in his thoughts, "murdered his brother" in his heart, cp 1 John 3:10,12,15; 4:20-21.

To describe someone as spiritually "drunken" would include all of the above thoughts. And by his actions, the "evil servant" has identified himself clearly with the "Drunken Harlot System of Apostasy." So we must ask the question? Where did the "evil servant" learn to use "inappropriate control" measures to manipulate others and to "lord it over his Brethren?" Such a person is a despot, "a little Caesar," in contrast to 1 Peter 5:3. Christ never used these techniques!! Neither did He endorse these control techniques amongst His Brethren!! "All that the Father gives me, shall come to me; and he who comes to me I will in no wise cast out," He declared in John 6:37. Evil Diotrephes is a brilliant example of a "spiritual drunkard," cp 3John v9-11. By acting like a "little Caesar," Diotrophes actually de-throned Christ, putting himself in Christ's place, cp Psalm 10:4-5..

It is well known that the Apostasy has long employed "excommunication and inappropriate blackmail" control techniques to manipulate their flock. And they learned those measures from the Pharisees and the religious leaders in Israel. Which is apt, because the modern Apostasy is simply Judaism and Pharisaism super refined. For example, when Christ healed a blind man in Jerusalem, the cured man's parents were fearful to testify to their son's story. "Because the Jews ('ie. the religious leaders',) had agreed already, that any man who confessed [that the blind man had been healed by] Christ, should be put out ['cast out'] of the synagogue," cp John 9:22. And in their wicked anger and iniquitous wrath, the religious leaders ended up "casting the (cured blind) man out, ('ie. marg. "excommunicated him,") cp John 9:34. "And Jesus heard that the rulers had cast him out; and when Jesus found the man who He had cured, Jesus said unto him, Do you believe on the Son of God?"

It appears that it had been about five months since Christ had performed the miracle on this man. Remember, the man who once was blind, was like ourselves at this point. He had never seen the Lord - but that voice! He recognised the voice of the One who he had been following in faith all that time. Do we recognise the voice of our Shepherd like that man did? cp John 10:1-5. Or are we following the voice of "hirelings" who bolt over the wall of the sheepfold, and abandon the flock at the first sight of something they do not like the look of? Look at how Christ described hireling shepherds in John 10:11-13.

The words, "come out from among them and be ye separate" are an invitation to be "adopted" into a Divine Family which should no longer behave as "the man of the earth - ('ie. as Cain.)" This man is described in Psa 10:18 (please read the whole Psalm.) The separation we are called upon to maintain, is a separation from "all filthiness of flesh and spirit," not a separation from our Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, cp 2 Cor 6:17 - 7:1.

Is this language too strong? Then why does the "evil servant" suffer exactly the same fate as the Apostasy, if he is not identified with their evil "works of iniquity?" cp Matt 25:30,41,46; 2 Thess 1:5-9; 2:7-8; Rev 20:10-15. Incidentally, the "evil servant" class are graphically described by Paul, Peter, Jude, John and James, many times throughout their epistles. See for yourself how often the Spirit identifies divisive and disruptive influences in the fledgling first Century Ecclesia. Luke introduces us to "the circumcision party" who wished to "cut off" all those who they did not agree with, or who did not agree with them, cp Acts 11:2 RSV. Paul meets the same spirit head on in Gal 2:11-16 where it had ensnared Peter and Barnabas. No wonder Paul proclaimed a double curse on the "angel [who claimed to have authority] from heaven - the messenger of the Adversary - masquerading as an angel of light" in Gal 1:3-9. Even Peter and Barnabas had been carried away with the dissimulation ['hypocrisy'] of separating from their Brethren and dividing the House of God. Why did they do this? Because they "feared the circumcision party!" If Paul had not publicly stood Peter up at that time, the Gospel of Salvation by Grace through Jesus Christ would have become the "Gospel" of Salvation by Observance of Law. And an exclusive Gospel at that - only for the Jews. And that "Gospel" is not "Good News" at all. It is a debilitating, life destroying, uncreative, bondage creating, unhealthy, shrivelled up image of the real thing. It is what Paul describes as "having a form of Godliness, while it denies the power of God [because there is no room within the paradigms of that system for the operation of the GRACE of GOD which is the POWER of GOD unto Salvation]. Writing to the Colossians, Paul warned about those "angels" [Col 2:18] whose paradigms he described as "touch not; taste not; handle not - the commandments and doctrines of men," cp Col 2:21-22. And in Phillipi, Paul exposed the "evil workers and mutilators...whose God is their belly, and whose glory is really shame, who mind earthly things" in Phil 3:2,19. Jude also warned of "certain men who had crept in unawares" ['ie. Question? Were these "certain men," certain Pharisees, who had easily infiltrated the Brotherhood in Acts 6:7 when "a great number of Priests joined the Faith?"]

Neither Jude nor Peter minced their words when they described these "angels of light" [as Paul had referred to them]. They are variously described as "false prophets, natural brute beasts, Balaamites, wells without water, vomiting dogs, wallowing sows, filthy dreamers, Cainites, raging seas, shooting stars, mockers, ungodly etc." Peter tells us that they were evil servants who "promised liberty" but who actually delivered "bondage." In other words, they were "GRACE KILLERS." And he ought to know, for because of them, both he and Barnabas had very nearly embraced "another gospel." Of course, it was not "good news" at all. It was actually the thin end of the wedge of the Apostasy. Look through the Psalms for yourself and see how often the "workers of iniquity" are described. There are some common themes that you will find in many of the various contexts. For example, nearly every context where "workers of iniquity" are mentioned will refer in some way to the sickness and frailty of our natures, and our desperate personal need to be healed of all our diseases. The major 'modus operandi' for "the worker's of iniquity," is revealed plainly. They peddle all sorts of lies about their Brethren, and they murder their brethren "in their heart." Here is a short list of useful passages - Psalm 5:6; 14:4; 36:3; 59:7; 64:6-9; 94:4-6 etc.

However, there is justice! Turn these verses up in your Bible:- Psa 5:10; 10:15; 21:9; 37:2; 64:7. Psalm 94:20-23. The last passage is particularly interesting. Paraphrasing the passage, it reads:- "Shall the throne of iniquity, that brings on misery by its decrees, have fellowship with You [God]? They ["the workers of iniquity"] gather together against the life of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood. The Lord will bring upon them their own iniquity, [v13 implies that they dig "a pit for themselves," cp Psa 10:2], and [God] shall cut them off in their own wickedness. The Lord our God shall cut them off," cp Psalm 37. The attitude of the "evil servant" towards those over whom he has some power [real or imagined] actually determines his eternal destiny.

House Of Horrors? Or A House Of Healing?

The "evil servant" has bruised and smitten his fellows in the "House of Healing." He has made the "House of Healing" a "House of Horrors" for his Brethren. He has divided the family of God asunder. He has sacrificed Christ's "little ones" on the alter of his ego. But in the end he will himself be smitten, sacrificed, and divided. As the Lord reveals, He shall return at a time when "the evil servant" least expects Him to show up, "and shall cut him asunder, ('ie. as a sacrificial victim)." The margin gives as an alternative rendering, "shall cut him off." Here is poetic justice. Pure, Divine, Poetic Justice! Because the "evil servant's" career within the Divine family has been notorious for his methods of keeping the Truth pure by "casting out" all those who did not measure up to his idea of acceptability, Christ is going to (Grk) "Dichotemeo" him, cp Heb 4:12-13. "Dichotemeo" is the basis of our English word, "dichotomise" - 'to divide sharply into two.'

This man is truly "double souled," cp James 1:8. He is a spiritual schizophrenic! A real Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde! Giving all the appearances of being perfectly "normal" at times, whilst at other times, losing control completely. As we recognise from the scriptures, King Saul was schizoid. And a medical dictionary I have in front of me at the moment describes the following symptoms. "Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterised by major aberrations in thought, perception, emotion, and behaviour. The thinking is often illogical and usually includes delusional beliefs and distorted perceptions. The individual withdraws from other people and from reality, and his speech can often be described as "crazy talk." The subject often adopts unusual postures and exhibits stereotyped movements."

What an apt description of "the evil servant!" His thinking regarding his Brethren is not logical. He has developed, and maintains in his mind, distorted perceptions about his "other" Brethren. He characteristically withdraws from his Brethren. His spiritual reasoning can only be described as "crazy talk." He adopts unusual spiritual postures. And he exhibits very bizarre stereotyped movements towards his Brothers and Sisters. These all amount to some incredible paradigms, which must be moved if he is to share the Glory of The Kingdom with Christ.

And when this miserable wretch appears before the Lord at the judgement seat, all his protestations of personal worthiness are ineffectual to save him. Christ is unable to recognise him as part of His Divine Family. Because of his paradigms, he has refused to allow himself to be treated by the Lord [the great Doctor] for his condition, even though "the power of the Lord was available to heal him too," cp Luke 5:17-18. He is actually a "Son of Gehenna" not a "Son of God" cp Matt 23:15. And as a "Son of Gehenna", he has become so grotesquely scarred by the attitudes that he has embraced and practised, that he is unrecognisable to Christ. Spiritually he is grossly disfigured, and totally unrecognisable, just like any of the poor miserable children who were offered to the Fires of Molech in the valley of Hinnom in ancient days. Though he might protest his worthiness to remain within the Divine Family for eternity, tragic are the words that Christ utters to him.

"Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied ('ie. taught from your word',) in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? ('ie. purged out the unclean 'sick' people from "our" Ecclesia',) and in your name have done many wonderful works? ('ie. A.I.T.S:- 'Look, here is the Truth just as shiny as the day you gave it to me, I have let no one else touch it!') And then Christ will profess to them, I never knew you ('ie. and you never 'knew' me or my Father and how we worked', cp John 17:3; Jer 9:24,) Depart from me, you who work iniquity," cp Matt 7:22-23.

These would have to be the most sobering words in scriptures !! To imagine them being uttered just sends a shiver down one's spine!! No wonder the scriptures warn us that there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth!" There can be no doubt that the "evil servant" had been very zealous for the Lord. But so was Saul of Tarsus before he was converted! Like his namesake in the Old Testament, the New Testament Saul exhibited the same 'classic traits' of the "evil servant" in both attitude and action. Both Sauls "smote" their brethren, exacting more from them than what was reasonable, cp 1 Sam 8:10-19; Acts 9:1-2. God did all that He could for Saul Ben Kish. He even "gave him another heart (ie 'a different attitude')," cp 1 Sam 10:9. But to no avail! Though Saul Ben Kish had many close encounters with David, he just could not replicate the magnanimous attitude of "the Beloved" who was truly "a man after God's own heart," cp 1Sam 13:14.

Thankfully for Saul of Tarsus, the dramatic events on the road to Damascus, and the close encounter with "the Beloved Lord Jesus Christ" did sponsor "a new heart" in him. Those events burned deep into his brain, and being "converted" early, Saul/Paul had a different attitude for the rest of his days, which could be best summed up as grateful obedience. The problem for us is, our personal "conversion" is not necessarily complete before we are baptised. Thankfully for Saul/Paul, and for ourselves, he experienced a dramatic grace awakening. Imagine what Paul could have done within the Ecclesia to "the Beloved's little ones" had he remained "exceedingly zealous of the traditions of his Fathers" after his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus, cp Acts 9:1-4. After his "conversion" we find Paul was very careful to only ever exhort his hearers to be "zealous of good works," cp Titus 2:7.

In passing, just note that when Saul/Paul was led by the hand into Damascus, we are told that "he was three days without sight, and he did not eat or drink," cp Acts 9:9; Psalm 43:3. Those "three days" gave him time to engage is some serious self examination. In those three days, he would have identified with the Lord Jesus Christ, who was three days deprived of life in a tomb because of the very same attitude that had just been driving Saul of Tarsus onwards down the road to Damascus. He was "without sight," throughout those three days, to teach him that he had been "spiritually blind" up to that point in his life, cp Matt 23:15-36; 1 John 2:6-11. As John soundly counsels us, "He who hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." So by not "eating or drinking" those three days, Saul/Paul demonstrated that he no longer fed an attitude that identified him with those 'power-broker' contemporaries of his who were "drunken" with power. Even as Saul/Paul groped his way around "the house of Judas" in blindness, many of his contemporaries would have continued on in their inebriated quest to be rid of those who they called "heretics," cp Isa 59:10; Acts 24:14. History proves that Saul/Paul's contemporaries had embraced the beginnings of a "strong delusion" which ultimately became the Roman Apostasy, cp 2 Thess 2:11. And they continually dogged Paul's steps everywhere he went about the Roman Empire establishing the Family of God, cp 2 Cor 11:3,14; 12:7.

But for the grace of God, Saul of Tarsus would have continued on down that same path, murdering the Brethren, persecuting "the way," working iniquity, evil and wickedness in the name of "religion," thinking as he did so, that he was actually doing God service, cp John 16:2. In fact, Jesus had pre-warned His disciples that such actions were to be expected from the power-brokers of the day, "because they ('ie 'the workers of iniquity') have not known ('ie. not understood') the Father nor Jesus," cp John 16:3; 17:3. "For this is life eternal" said Jesus, "to know ('ie. by demonstrating the Family character') You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ who You did send," cp Jer 9:23-24.

Saul of Tarsus, in his blindness, was a classic example of a "grace killer." How ironic that he should have sought his authority to persecute "the way" from Annas the High Priest of Israel, a.k.a. "Annanias" (Grk. 'The Grace of God') cp Acts 9:1. And in Damascus, having been struck blind, Saul/Paul received his sight three days later, at the hands of a disciple of Christ, whose name was also "Annanias" cp Acts 9:10-20. No wonder Paul was later to exclaim, as he reflected upon the events of his arrest by Christ on the road to Damascus, that "by the Grace of God I am what I am," cp 1 Cor 15:10. And if any one of us happen to observe modern day "grace killers" in action today, we should fall to our knees and gratefully thank our Heavenly Father, that He has also (figuratively) arrested us as we were on the Road to Damascus, ('ie. "the crooked paths") and set our feet in "the street that is called Straight," cp Acts 9:11; Isa 40:4; 42:16. We must learn to pray ('ie. be a priest, pray for healing') for the "grace killers" because, if we stop to think about it, there, "but for the Grace of God, go any one of us!"

Just as Saul/Paul had been in the habit of feeding his attitude with the "strong delusion" of ridding the nation of those who offended his 'inebriated sensibilities,' so it is possible that we too can feed on a wrong attitude towards our Brethren. For example, let us look at just one passage from the pen of our pioneer Brethren, which can be used to feed a wrong attitude. It is found in the following noble motto from the pen of Bro John Thomas. It reads:- "Do what is right; be valiant for the Truth; teach it without compromise, and all lovers of the Truth will approve you. For all others you need not care a rush."

And I am sure Bro. Thomas did mean that we are to "do what is right." But let us make sure that what we do is what our Lord commanded is right, not what we think is right. "Being valiant for the Truth," is far more than rooting out 'false doctrine', and searching out Brethren who do not see things our way. "Being valiant" involves doing what Jesus did - healing people's minds with patience and kindness, not cutting them off and casting them out, cp 2 Tim 2:24-26. "Being valiant for the Truth" is the same as "contending earnestly for the faith" and involves promoting the Grace of God as the antidote to Judaistic Legalism - or Salvation by Works. "Teaching the Truth without compromise" is great - but if we do not have a monopoly on Truth (and none has except God!) let us make perfectly sure that what we teach and enforce as being immovable is exactly that! Any decisions or standards which we insist our Brethren uphold, must have the endorsement of Christ and His Father to be binding on any one of us. If any decision or "standard" can actually change over time without overturning or undermining the standards of Divine righteousness in the lives of His family - then it is not a Divine principle, it is a cultural value or a conscience issue.

When Bro. Thomas suggested that "all lovers of the Truth will approve you," he did not give us a measuring stick by which we can determine our Brother's love for the Truth. This phrase has been embraced by some to reassure their conscience that when they have separated from their Brethren in Christ they have actually done the "right" thing. A.I.T.S:- "If some do not see things "our" way, then that must mean that "they" do not love the Truth." And if they "do not approve of us," because in "their" minds, our actions do not line up with what Christ taught, then that justifies our "not caring a rush" for them. And so, as a result of this type of attitude, there are sections of our world-wide Christadelphian community that have developed methods designed to be able to manipulate other people's minds, and control their lives.

But remember the Lord's great "Mission Statement?" Jesus said:- "by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you show your care for the unlovable," cp John 13:35. Brother Thomas never intended that his words be used to justify separation within the Brotherhood - his words were written in the context of our responsibility to those outside the Faith who do not want to know about God and His Plan and Purpose. In fact at the end of his life, Bro. Thomas regretted having ever appeared to have been as pugnacious with his pen as he is so often made out to be.

So, in being "valiant for the Truth," or "contending earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints," we must make absolutely certain that our zeal is according to our Lord's commandments, and that it is for "good works" only. Imagine the grief of "the evil servant" as he is rejected by the Lord, because his misdirected zeal for God has actually identified him with the system that has persistently persecuted the Brethren right down through the ages. Paul reveals that "the delusion" of preserving God's Truth by pushing people out of "the Beloved's House of Healing" is "strong," cp 2Thess 2:10-12.

He also reveals, along with the Apostle John in the Apocalypse, that this drunken delusion is actually "a heady lie," an inebriated attitude which manifests itself over and over in tragic circumstances, cp Rev 16:5-7; 17:6. How many of Christ's "little ones" have been "murdered" over the centuries through having been "smitten by an evil servant" in the "House of Healing?" Images of that tragic scenario are scattered throughout the Divine record. For example, let us look at the graphic parable of GRACE involving "the rich man" and "Lazarus" in Luke 16. Remember the "great gulf" that was fixed between "Lazarus the beggar and the rich man?" Truly "a great gulf" will be fixed, separating those made immortal, from those who remain in their sins after Mercy/Judgement. We know that once the Judges decision is handed down, it is final and irreversible - and justified, cp Isa 11:2-5; Rom 14:10-12.

And the "great gulf" of Luke 16:26 is not some geographic phenomena, but is actually a tremendous separation in attitudes:- ie. the result of two totally different paradigms. Neither will the "great gulf" be revealed as a new phenomena at the Judgement/Mercy Seat. The "great gulf" was actually there all the time, because of the vast difference in attitude between the "rich man" class, and the "Lazarus" class. The "certain rich man was clothed in purple and linen" ('ie. he looks like a King/Priest, and he could be any one of us!') He lived and behaved as a Despotic King, "faring sumptuously every day" ('ie. he has all the blessings of God,') but he was obviously "eating and drinking with the drunken," [cp 1 Cor 4:8]. Meanwhile "Lazarus" desperately needed feeding and healing, in both body and mind.

And where do we find Lazurus? Why, "Lazurus is laid at the rich man's gate, full of sores," ('ie. he has been forced out of the House, Lazarus is too sick for the rich man to be bothered trying to heal him.') Besides, the "rich man" has no room in his Mansion for such a miserable wretch as this Lazarus. And the only food that Lazurus can get, are those left overs and scraps of sustenance which fell from the rich man's table. No "open handed" generosity from this rich man! Just a "Nabal like attitude" towards one of Christ's "little ones." And Lazurus? The only comfort he can get is from the Gentile "dogs" outside of the Great House. They did what they could for him by "licking his sores." They can never 'heal' him, or 'feed' him, or 'clothe' him, but they could offer him some comfort.

However, Lazurus never loses his Abrahamic Faith, despite his wicked treatment in the "Great House" at the hands of the rich man. In the final analysis, "the beggar - the poor of this world, rich in faith" finds himself "in Abraham's bosom" ('ie. because he was always in Abraham's bosom, even when he was going through his 'hell on earth' - he is in Abraham's bosom because, by grace, he is a "Son of Father Abraham.") And no-one will find themselves "in Abraham's bosom" who has not first built a relationship with Abraham and his Family, through God Almighty, cp John 8:39-44.

Lazarus found great comfort and consolation, when he learned to embrace grace. The picture here in Luke 16:23, is of a child nestled up close to his Father, in an embrace of love, experiencing all the authority, power, honour, dignity, affinity, and gentle guardian care, that such a close embrace can convey. An obstreperous child will not characteristically seek such closeness with any such Father figure. The "rich man" was self sufficient anyway. He felt that he did not need any help from anybody. He acted as though he believed that "there is no God." Only a fool would "turn up his nose" at the grace of God like the "Pharisees" did in Luke 16:14-15. Christ used them as the basis for the "rich man" class in the parable that followed].

How do we explain "the rich man, Father Abraham and Lazurus all being in hell?" The English word "hell" simply means "a covered place." What an apt description of the scene where the Judgement of the Great Household will take place. A covered place, hidden from the prying eyes of the world. Notice that no time interval is given in the parable, between the deaths of Lazurus and the rich man, and their appearance at the resurrection to judgement. The sleep of death was the same for both men, as it is for all who have ever died - just that - a sleep from which only some will awake. And of the "many" who will awake to see the resurrection morn, some, like "the rich man," will find themselves [sadly] on the wrong side of a "great gulf" of their own making, cp John 5:29-30. And no amount of "fast talking" will be able to persuade the Judge to change His decision, cp Luke 16:24. Too late to appeal for grace then. Today we seal our destiny!! We have been adopted by the Father to be Brethren in His Family by grace ('ie "five brethren" in v28). Let us, then, "be persuaded" of the lesson of "the Rich man and Lazurus," and accept the Will of the "One who has come to us, having risen from the dead," cp v31. Our experience will be the same as His. In performing the duty of a Priest with our Brethren, we will be helping our Brethren to be healed of all their diseases in "the house of healing." Like Lazarus in the parable of Christ, and like Saul of Tarsus, we must learn what it means to embrace grace. And in so doing, we will find at last "the power of an endless life" because, being truly "in Him" it will be impossible for the grave to hold us, even as it was impossible for the grave to hold Him, cp Acts 2:24. As the words of our hymn reads, we must learn today about the power of "Healing, Blessing, making Free."

Otherwise, as Christ reveals in another place, "that servant which knew his Lord's Will," ('ie. His desire to heal His sick Children,') "and did not prepare himself, nor did according to his Lord's Will, shall be beaten with many stripes," cp Luke 12:47-48. Here is poetic Divine justice, surely. The "evil servant" has "laid many stripes" on his Brethren in "smiting them with the fist of wickedness." He has fulfilled his "drunken" pleasure within the Great Household. In the end, Christ will "cut the evil servant off" from His company and "appoint him his portion with the hypocrites," cp Matt 24:51. To "appoint" means (Grk)."to serve something to eat or drink." And "his portion" relates to (Grk). "his destiny." So poetically, because the "evil servant" has been "eating and drinking with the drunken" throughout his career, Christ is now pictured as serving him his "just desserts", and banishing him with the "hypocrites" cp Psa 28:3-5. "Give ...after the works of their hands, render to them their desert." We do not need to be a rocket scientist to work out who the Lord reveals as "hypocrites" in scriptural parlance. They are given fairly solid exposure in many places, especially Matthew 23. Luke, in the companion record to Matt 24, adds that Christ will "appoint him his portion with the unbelievers," cp Luke 12:46. So the "evil servant's" problems are revealed as being a basic problem of "unbelief," and an incredible lack of faith. Mixed together, they make up the ingredients for a particularly "heady strong delusion," cp 2 Thess.

This certainly fits the facts of the case, because the "worker of iniquity" does not act as though he believes that Christ walks in the midst of the Lampstands. He claims to trust God, yet he presumes to do the Father's severe remedial work for Him, as if God is not able to maintain the "purity of the Truth" in the earth. The Truth is not a "Hot House Violet," unable to withstand exposure to the elements. It is rugged and robust and, though very precious like gold, grace has been created by God to be used for vigorous trading in the Lord's service. Like gold, grace is durable, malleable, and precious. Through grace we are freed from our former service to Sin. Remember, Jesus taught that "if you continue in my word then are you my Disciples indeed; and you shall know ('ie. same word 'know' as "to know the Father") the Truth ('ie. about the Father's grace') and [this] Truth shall make you free," cp Gal 5:1-4.

Yet history proves that the Truth involving the Father's grace has consistently been suppressed in through out the entire history of the world by communities who adopt a rigorous policy of people manipulation and mind control, using inappropriate control techniques to enforce standards etc. not required by the Lord, cp Psalm 15:5. And another truth we need to constantly keep in mind, is that "Light" has always been more powerful than "Darkness." It is simply not possible to extinguish the "light" in a room by bringing in a "box full of darkness." Do we believe this? Then let us act accordingly!!

Which Medical Option Do You Prefer To Use?

If a Brother does have a dark area in his life somewhere, (and haven't we all!), then it is our duty, as "our Brothers keeper," as "faithful and wise servants," and as "royal priests" in training, to use every power of intellect, and proper appeal to the only source of Light, to penetrate that darkness, and apply the "balm of Gilead" ('ie. still small voice of instruction') to help heal our Brother's problem, cp 1 Kings 19:9-18; Isa 58:6-8; Mal 4:2. Imagine a potential life threatening disease has smitten one of our natural siblings:- let's say, in their foot, or their hand, for example. Which medical option would we help them choose? Amputation? Or proper therapy?

But proper therapy takes a large amount of time and personal effort! It is far easier to "amputate," or remove the problem, than it is to spend the required time to heal the disease. It is just a pity when "the evil servant" (Doctor) performs his favourite form of radical surgery [amputation], that the only form of anaesthetic that he uses, is a "beating about the head" with the "velvet clad iron glove of spiritual blackmail," cp Psalm 15:5. And it is deplorable, that once the radical procedure has taken place, we end up with a "body" that is missing a leg, or a hand, or bowels of compassion. Or a body missing a heart, or fingers, or eyes and ears. Or a body losing a lot of blood (life). And worst of all - we can end up with a "body" with no Head, cp Col 2:19; 3:15; Eph 4:2-7; 1 Cor 12:12-27.

And as one does apply "the remedial balm of Gilead" to any "healing" situation, the prophet and the apostle, gently remind us that in another time and place, the "patient" could well be ourselves, in need of the same sort of tender loving care in the great "House of Healing," cp Isa 58:7; Gal 6:1-10.

Indeed, may we constantly recognise the abundant Merciful Grace of our Loving Heavenly Father toward us all. Let us demonstrate our immense heart-bursting obedient gratitude in loving reverence to our Father, by following the stirring, practical example of "a certain Samaritan" nearly 2,000 years ago, who stopped his journey to have "compassion" toward that "certain man" who had been beaten, and robbed and left for dead by evil and wicked men. No wonder Jesus encouraged "the lawyer, to go and do thou likewise," cp Luke 10:29-37; Matt 25:35-40; Isa 58:7; Deut 15:11.

Imagine - lying there, slowly dying on the side of the road that leads to Jerusalem. Bleeding, and in agony. Smitten and beaten savagely, your life ebbing slowly away. And through swollen eyes you catch a glimpse - first a Priest, and then a Levite - your own Brethren - passing you by. And in your dazed and throbbing mind, you know that they have made a deliberate and conscious decision to shun you and to have nothing to do with you. And your vital signs fade with each heartbeat, cp James 4:17. Reflect solemnly, yes - even prayerfully - on the heartless actions of "men of God" who must have known "in their hearts," what was the proper "compassionate" Brotherly action to pursue. And yet, with hardly a sideways glance, only thinking of themselves, they make a chilling choice to have nothing to do with you, so as to preserve their reputation among their own peers. Never forget - that lying on the side of the road, abandoned by those who ought to know better, but for the Grace of God, could be any one of us. The Father's formula is really very simple. Some may say, 'simplistic!' However, simplicity is one of the glorious hallmarks of the Truth. The Father has not called us to be "legal spiritual technocrats" - but to be gratefully obedient to our Lord's commandments, cp Rom 16:25-26. Let Him say it again - "GO AND DO THOU LIKEWISE!"

And let us get one other thing abundantly clear. We must never get our Spiritual Vocations confused, cp Eph 4:1-6. The Father has not appointed us to be Spiritual or Ecclesial "Policemen." From the evidence that has been collated in this short study, we can safely conclude however, that He has commissioned us to be Spiritual or "Ecclesial Doctors, Nurses, and Hospital Orderlies." Or Priests, if you are more comfortable with that concept. For what other reason do you think our Loving Heavenly Father clothed us figuratively with "a white linen garment" at our Baptism? He did not clothe us in a blue policeman's uniform, or a smart three piece lawyers suit, or a fancy barristers gown!! He could have!! But He has not called us to be policemen, lawyers or Queen's Counsel - He has invited us to be "His Kings and Priests" - a Royal Priesthood, His own special people, who have [by the Grace of God] gained the dominion over ourselves, by demonstrating in our lives the characteristics of our Heavenly Father toward our "neighbour." What a glorious God we have, who has called us out of darkness, into His marvellous light!! May we constantly remember that we were once not a people, but we are now the people of God, and we have obtained through Christ Jesus our Lord, the wonderful, inestimable, gift of Grace, which is fully able to make us the "richest" people on earth, cp Eph 2:7-8; 3:14-16. "For unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ," cp Eph 4:7. Here lies the true identity of the "pound" and the "talents" in the parables of Christ, cp Matt 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27. The "pound" and the "talent" are very appropriate terminology to describe the gift of grace given to us through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How are you faring in your trading with the "gift of grace" that the Lord has left in your care, to "occupy [Grk "to be busy in trading"] until He returns?" Are you using "the Gift of Christ [grace]" to heal people, like He did? Remember, only True Priests can apply this "Balm of Gilead." The more you use this gift, the greater the benefits eternally. Look at the rewards given to two of the three men in Luke 19. One was rewarded with "dominion" over "five cities." He demonstrated an industrious application of grace in his day of opportunity, cp Matt 25:34-40. And his reward? He will be able to continue to exercise that grace in the Kingdom to heal a multitude [ie. "five cities"] by grace, cp Isa 30:21. This is in keeping with a wonderful and immutable Divine principle. "The reward for doing a good job today, is a bigger job tomorrow, cp Luke 16:10-12; Isa 30:21. We will see this principle illustrated again in the next paragraph.

And the other man was given "dominion" over "ten cities." How industrious has he been in his day of opportunity, that his reward should reflect the fact that through his industrious application of grace in his lifetime, he multiplied the gift of grace [ie. "pound/talent"] given to him by Christ tenfold, to produce double grace, [ie. 2 x 5 = 10], cp Luke 19:16. And as in any business, the scope to trade is always increased when the merchant seeks out new opportunities. Look at both Noah and Moses as a wonderful example for us to follow. It is recorded of both these men that they "found grace" in the eyes of the Father. To find something, normally one must first be looking for it, cp Heb 11:6; Jer 29:13; Matt 7:7-11. Are you looking for Grace? Are you looking for greater opportunities to further the will of the Father? Do you sell the Truth down? Or are you a skilful "trader" for Christ, selling the Truth up, and increasing the gracious influence of Christ among others who also need healing?

Let us rejoice greatly in the fact that our Loving Heavenly Father has drawn us together into His Divine Family to share His incredible gift of Grace with others in the bountiful "Peace and Joy of the Spirit of Holiness," cp Rom 12:17. "For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God, and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." And may the God of peace abundantly bless us all, as we work together as "faithful and wise servant priests" to perform with Him, (not for Him) His Gracious "Will" of Healing His Creation, cp Matt 12:50.

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"Priests" In Scripture Who Should Inspire Us

ADAM - Had the opportunity to be Eve's "Priest," but he chose her disease instead.

ABEL - A true Priest who lost his life because of his brother's petty jealousies.

ENOCH - A great "priest" who "walked with God." He was a healing influence in his generation.

NOAH - A "Priest of Grace" through whom the Father worked, to provide "the way" to escape the "men of reputation" who had become "giants" of "wickedness in the earth, who had corrupted God's way," and "who had filled the earth with their violence." Is this why Mat 24:45 is found in the context that it is? Is history repeating itself once more?

ABRAHAM - A priest who led his people out of Idolatry into a land of promise. A priest who rescued his separated "Brother" Lot from the enemy. The Father of many nations, whose name was completed with the addition of the fifth [grace] letter of the Hebrew alphabet. A multitudinous family created by Grace.

JOSEPH - Sent ahead of his family into Egypt and became "the Saviour of the World."

MOSES - Interceded for the Children of Israel, even offering to die in their stead, cp Exod 32:32.

JOB - Continually prayed for his family. Through him, God "healed" the wrong attitudes of his 3 friends.

DAVID - By Grace he put his experiences on record that we all might be warned and saved, cp Psa 51.

JESUS OF NAZARETH - High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, Earth's greatest Doctor/Saviour.

BARNABAS - Son of Consolation, Brother of Great Comfort, a Levite of the country of Cyprus.

PAUL - Sent by the Father to further His Will among the nations, expounded the Gospel of Grace.

PETER - Apostle to the Jews to heal them of all their diseases, cp Acts 2 + 3.

EPAPHRAS - Paul notes that "Epaphras strove earnestly in his prayers" for his Brethren. A true Priest.

APOLLOS - Mighty in the Scriptures - a lively and affectionate teacher - fervent and teachable. A true Levite.

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FOOTNOTE:- I pray that this servant be pardoned if he has mistreated the Word of Grace in any way. The sole purpose of this article has been to build bridges and repair breaches in a "House of Healing" too long torn apart by internecine strife. This article is not a call for open fellowship with the churches about us. Neither is it an appeal for us to sit on our hands and ignore our Brother's problems. It is an appeal for the Brotherhood to search deeply the recess's of our collective hearts to determine which of the two servant classes best represents ourselves - before the Lord returns! Better that we address any problem attitudes now, than find ourselves on the wrong side of "a great gulf" of our own creation, cp Luke 16:26.

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